Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

School of English Research Seminar

Roderick Dale, Viking Berserks: Reassessing the Reality and the Myths

Roderick Dale graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a BA(Hons) in Scandinavian Studies (Norwegian) in 1985 before beginning a career as an archaeologist. While working as an archaeologist he completed an MA in Viking and Anglo- Saxon Studies (2001) and a PhD in Viking Studies (2014) both at the University of Nottingham. Since joining UCC in 2016, Roderick has been working as post-doctoral researcher on The World-Tree Project (, a large- scale community collection database in the field of Old Norse-Icelandic and Viking Studies, funded by an IRC 'New- Horizons' Starter Grant. His research interests are focused on Old Norse language and literature, reception studies and public engagement. He is particularly interested in how popular culture depictions can dominate and shape research into the Vikings, having considered its effect on approaches to researching berserkir in his doctoral thesis.

Abstract It has been taken as given since the seventeenth century that berserkir went into paroxysms of rage, and many explanations have been put forward to explain this phenomenon, ranging from demonic possession, to psychological instability to the use of drugs. Not once has scholarly discourse considered whether uncontrollable rage is a suitable translation of Old Norse berserksgangr. In this seminar, I shall discuss what the evidence is, and how asking whether berserkir went berserk in the modern English sense of the word refocuses the research and offers an alternative paradigm for understanding both the reception of berserkir in the medieval period and their probable historical reality.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 3-4 pm
Location: Room 2.12 O'Rahilly Building UCC
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Clíona Ó Gallchoir
021 4903288

<< Back

Events Calendar Home

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF